February 22, 2016 Turn' up the Beet! February 22, 2016/ Kathryn Walton A salad that can't be beet...Okay. Okay. Lettuce stop making beet jokes! But, in all seriousness, with the prices of vegetables continuing to skyrocket, it's time we give this winter root vegetable a share of the limelight. Beets (officially beetroot) have a sweet, earthy charm that is both nutritious and delicious. Their low fat content and high nutrient value (fibre, folate, magnesium, potassium and, vitamins A and C) make beets a nutritional powerhouse. The deep red colour comes from betanin which is a natural pigment with antioxidant properties. What's more?! Beets are extremely versatile; you can eat em' raw, roast em' and pickle em'. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even eat the leaves (best enjoyed chopped up and treated like spinach as the leaves are bitter alone)! I know that I am crushing a little over beets, but my first exposure to them isn't an experience I'm likely to forget. Flashback 18 years. I am 9 years old and my youngest sister (the star of this story) is 3. Our mom, a tireless crusader of the adventure that is dinnertime with 3 young kids, had prepared a new side-dish for us to try; stewed beets. Side note: (which will become important later on) my parents started a competition when my sisters and I were young to see who could be the best behaved each meal; the worst behaved or messiest child dawned the title "Queen Slob" and was forced into dish duty. Upon setting the stewed beets on the table, my mom used her "you just have to try them" bargain, however, 3 year-old Rachel took extreme offence to the poor, unassuming beets. She took one sniff, loaded a few beets up on her fork and flung it over her shoulder. The beets flew off her fork. Beet juice sprayed everywhere as beets flew through the air, landing on and sliding down the wall behind her booster-seat chair. The wall was white. Beets are red. Despite years of scrubbing, faint evidence of the beet incident of '98 remained until my parents renovated their kitchen last year. Rachel was forever deemed "Queen Slob" of the Walton clan. High heat brings out the natural sweetness of root vegetables such as beets. Wash well, peel, chop into cubes, toss with a little oil and pepper and roast at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes; you've got an unbeetable side. However, beets can also be enjoyed raw as in my salad recipe below. This salad makes a great side for fish or can be enjoyed alone as lunch. It will store in the fridge for 3-5 days as long as you don't put the dressing on it. Make sure to give both the beets and the brussel sprouts a good wash! Beet & Brussel Sprout Salad*Serves 6 2 beets10 brussel sprouts3/4 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheeseDressing: 4 tbsp olive oil4 tbsp dijon mustard 1 tbsp honey pepperPreheat oven to 350 degree F. When warm, roast walnuts on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn and don't be like me and forget them! Wash beets and brussel sprouts well. Peel beets and use a grater to grate both beets. Use a food processor (or just cut finely with a knife) to finely chop up brussel sprouts. Combine beets, brussel sprouts, walnuts, raisins and parmesan in a bowl. Toss. I like to make my dressings in a mason jar because it makes mixing and storing easy. Combine all ingredients, tighten lid and shake well. You may want to adjust the ingredient amounts to your own taste preference. Yum! Eating veggies was never so easy! Enjoy! xo Kath P.S. Don't be alarmed if your pee is a bit pink the next day. This happens when eating beets and doesn't mean anything about your digestive workings. It's normal. Everything in moderation; don't eat this entire salad in one go and you'll be fine.